Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘caught our notice’ Category

Caught Our Notice: “Profoundly sorry” researcher retracts Alzheimer’s-DDT paper

without comments

Via Wikimedia

TitleImmune response cytokines as potential biomarkers for DDT induced neurodegeneration

What Caught Our Attention:  Does exposure to pesticides such as DDT influence the onset of Alzheimer’s? Hard to say, especially after a researcher retracted a recent paper purporting to find a link in mice, a few months after a press release was issued about the work. The notice took on an unusual format — Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

November 17th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Posted in caught our notice

Caught Our Notice: Oops — paper included proofreader’s query

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Concise Review: Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Neurodegenerative Diseases

What Caught Our Attention: Everyone makes mistakes — but some are more amusing than others. In one recent correction, the publisher (Wiley) admitted to including a proofreader’s query in the published manuscript. But didn’t say what the query was.

We looked around, and think we found the added notes in the abstract on the PubMed entry (emphasis ours):  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

November 15th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Caught Our Notice: Dear peer reviewer, please read the methods section. Sincerely, everyone

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Via Wikimedia

TitlePlasma contributes to the antimicrobial activity of whole blood against Mycobacterium tuberculosis

What Caught Our Attention: A big peer review (and perhaps academic mentorship) fail.  These researchers used the wrong anticoagulant for their blood samples, leading them to believe that certain blood components were fighting microbes. The authors counted the number of colonies to show how well or poorly Tuberculin mycobacteria were growing in cultures — but blood samples need anticoagulants to prevent clots before analysis, and they used an anticoagulant that actually prevented the microbes from colonizing. The authors (and reviewers) should have known this from  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

November 13th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Caught Our Notice: A nearly unreadable paper criticizing 2017 Nobel pick

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Nobel Prize Physiology 2017 (for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm) is On Fiction as There Is No Molecular Mechanisms of Biological Clock Controlling the Circadian Rhythm. Circadian Rhythm Is Triggered and Controlled By Divine Mechanism (CCP – Time Mindness (TM) Real Biological Clock) in Life Sciences 

What Caught Our Attention: This isn’t a retraction — rather, it’s a puzzling paper that we couldn’t help flagging for readers. From the title, to the affiliation (Das Nursing Home, India University Of God), to the reference list with only 11 entries — eight of which are written by the author himself — this is a paper that got our notice.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

November 8th, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Caught Our Notice: Author of controversial retracted paper earns Swedish gov’t grant

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Last week, a Swedish government funding agency announced 325 recipients of grants in Natural and Engineering Sciences. We don’t normally write about grant announcements, but we’re flagging this one because one recipient may be familiar to our readers.

It is Peter Eklöv of Uppsala University, a co-author of a now-retracted Science paper about the potential dangers of microplastics to fish.

Eklov will receive 800,000 ($94,784 USD) each year in 2018-2020 and 900,000 ($106,632 USD) in 2021, totalling 3,300,000 ($355,440 USD). The granting agency is the Swedish Research Council, controlled by Sweden’s Ministry of Education and Research.

Eklöv‘s retracted paper — which he co-authored with Oona Lönnstedt — got significant media coverage when it first appeared in June 2016, as it suggested fish larvae prefer to eat microplastic over their own natural prey. But soon after it was published, a group of researchers raised several allegations, including that the paper contained missing data and used a problematic methodology Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

November 8th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Caught Our Notice: 4th retraction for prominent physicist (with new funding) cites falsification

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Improved Cellular Specificity of Plasmonic Nanobubbles versus Nanoparticles in Heterogeneous Cell Systems

What Caught Our Attention: Nanotechnology researcher Dmitri Lapotko, whose work with lasers continues to catch media attention, has earned his fourth retraction.  As with the other three, the latest notice mentions an investigation at Rice University, but provides no specific information other than “data falsification” for images, and no indication as to the offending researcher(s). (In the past, Rice hasn’t even confirmed to us the presence of an investigation.) Only Laptoko and Ekaterina Lukianova-Hleb are common authors to all retractions. Despite these recent setbacks, Lapotko has not fared too badly in research funding.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

November 6th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Caught Our Notice: Ethics, data concerns prompt another retraction for convicted researchers

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Unravelling the influence of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) on cognitive-linguistic processing: A comparative group analysis

What Caught our Attention: RW readers might already be familiar with Caroline Barwood and Bruce Murdoch, two researchers from Australia who had the rare distinction of being criminally charged for research misconduct. Both Barwood and Murdoch received suspended sentences after being found guilty of multiple counts of fraud. In September 2014, University of Queensland announced that: Read the rest of this entry »

Caught Our Notice: 4th retraction for peer reviewer who stole manuscript

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diet and gut microbiota

What Caught Our Attention: The paper was co-authored by Carmine Finelli, who in the past took responsibility for a dramatic transgression: Stealing material from an unpublished manuscript by one of its reviewers. After the paper that stole from the manuscript was retracted in 2016, Finelli earned a second retraction earlier this year — again, for plagiarism. (He’s also lost another paper from Oncotarget, which was removed without any information.) Now, a fourth retraction has popped up, for using material “published previously.”  Unsure of the source of this material, we Googled some of the phrases from the retracted article.  While we cannot say for sure,  we offer these comparisons for you — the reader — to consider: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

November 1st, 2017 at 11:05 am

Caught Our Notice: Reporter’s inquiry prompts financial disclosure in autism paper

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Promoting child-initiated social-communication in children with autism: Son-Rise Program intervention effects

What caught our attention: When journalist Brendan Borrell was investigating a controversial autism treatment program for Spectrum, he came across a study where lead author Kat Houghton failed to disclose a prior relationship with the treatment center that taught the program, called Son-Rise.

The Spectrum article notes:

Read the rest of this entry »

Caught Our Notice: Concerns about image in 2008 paper prompt editorial notice

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Characterization of a novel epigenetically-silenced, growth-suppressive gene, ADAMTS9, and its association with lymph node metastases in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

What caught our attention: One year ago, a PubPeer user suggested an image from a 2008 paper looked similar to one from another paper. After the authors stated their belief in the soundness of the image, without providing the originals, the journal issued only an Expression of Concern for the paper. Some journals have issued retractions for lack of original data, some have issued corrections, and even fewer have published editorial notices. Expressions of concern usually indicate that some type of final resolution will be announced, but in reality, a significant proportion remain unresolved for years. Based on the wording of this notice, it may be around for a while. Read the rest of this entry »